Actively Scrolling My Way Through Life

Recently, I read about a study concerning how users utilize their time on Facebook. There are active users and active scrollers. Active users are the beneficiaries of the positives aspects of Facebook. They interact, leave posts, comments on one another’s walls. They participate. Then there are active scrollers. Active scrollers do exactly as the name implies… they scroll down through posts and read over other people’s highlights and achievements. They stew over what others have done that they don’t get to do. They resent other’s achievements and daily highs. As you can imagine, the study found that active scrollers are more prone to depression because they’re constantly watching the highlights of other people’s lives and never participating in them. They have a profound feeling of missing out.

As a chronic migraineur, I already had this feeling of “missing out” with my life in general. Reading this article made me realize that my illness has forced me to become an active scroller in my own life.  I am forced to sit on the sidelines and watch as my friends build relationships, families, and get new jobs. And all this while, I’m stuck, waiting for a cure, and trying out a bunch of medications in hopes of finding one that will get me a few more good days in the process.  It’s disheartening to realize that something that is recognized as a depressant on Facebook, active scrolling, is a lifestyle that so many of us in the chronic migraine community are forced to deal with.  We’re forced to deal with the depression that comes from our medically limited lives. From not being able to attend our niece’s sporting events. Not being able to go to the family Christmas party because you already have a migraine and you don’t want to end up in ER on Christmas Eve.

I don’t want to be an active scroller in my own life, but I guess I don’t know how to fight my way out of it, other than my small daily victories.  Yesterday, I was able to go for a three mile walk without getting a migraine. That is a huge achievement for me.  Three days ago I was able to cook myself delicious soup from scratch. I ended up getting a migraine and the dishes are still in the sink, waiting to be addressed, but the point is, I was an active participant in my life.  I guess what I’m coming to realize, is that I’m having to redefine what it means to be an active participant in my own life.

Six years ago, I wouldn’t have considered myself truly living unless I had a vacation to a far away place planned and coming up soon. I also wouldn’t have been happy in my day to day life until that vacation, because I had no idea how to actively live in each moment, like I do now. These days, if I get to see a friend and have a good conversation while sitting on my couch and drinking lattes I’ve made for us, I consider that day a win. I may still have a migraine that day, but I still actively participated in my life, instead of just scrolling on through another day.

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